Usyk's digital path towards world title fight with Tyson Fury

May 18, 2024
Darren Parkin

WHEN Oleksandr Usyk steps into the ring tonight to meet UK heavyweight Tyson Fury, he will be one of the first boxers to have embraced Web3 technology to help put him in peak condition.

The 37-year-old - holder of WBO, WBA and IBF belts - hopes, like his British opponent, to be crowned the best boxer of the current era with a victory later today.

However, the Ukranian has taken a non-conventional approach towards the contest in Saudi Arabia with his own tech start-up that could herald a digital transformation in boxing.

Usyk is the first fighter to use the app called 'Ready to Fight' for selecting sparring partners.

The app aims to be boxing's first social media platform, and looks to facilitate communication and collaboration for boxers with sparring partners, managers and fans.

Usyk launched the app in November 2023. It already has more than 130,000 registered users and, among them, more than 10,000 verified boxers.

In the build up to tonight's contest, Sergey Lapin - Usyk’s team director and the CEO of Ready To Fight - began the search for sparring partners in December.

At his training camp in Spain, 20 partners were found from 50 applications, and they joined the boxer for more than 250 rounds.

"Ready To Fight is our secret weapon in preparation for the fight," said Sergey Lapin.

"We have seen from our own experience how useful this platform is.”

With the fight being delayed until today, Usyk's team were able to turn to the technology again as they found more sparring partners without having to set up calls and interviews with agents, managers, coaches and boxers.

“It has become really simple now, you don’t need to call a lot of people all around the world when looking for sparring partners, you can do it in just a few clicks," Lapin added.

"First of all, a boxer looking for sparring partners, or his agent or team manager creates an offer with the required parameters and publishes it on the platform. A candidate should register in the app and respond to the offer.

"It's very important for a candidate to fill in all the parameters in his profile and upload videos of his fights or sparring sessions, based on this, our team makes a selection. After agreeing on the term, the sparring partner arrives at the training camp.”

Usyk himself says is also urging the boxing community to embrace technology - particularly as a way to get younger people involved in the sport.

"As a world champion who started his journey from humble beginnings, I am intimately familiar with the challenges that await young athletes along the way," the boxer explained.

"Such a platform could democratise our sport and open doors for talented boxers from all over the world, wherever they live, whatever their background and financial means.”

Tyson Fury versus Oleksandr Usyk:

Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Saturday, May 18 11.05pm (UK time)